Fan Conventions

  • Events Calendar for October

    By Jennifer Rose Hale on jeudi, 1 October 2015 - 1:14pm
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    Banner by caitie of curtains opening to show a stage with the words OTW Events Calendar

    Welcome to our Events Calendar roundup! The Events Calendar can be found on the OTW website and is open to submissions by anyone with news of an event. These can be viewed by event-type, such as Academic Conferences, Fan Events and Fests, Legal Events, OTW Events, or Technology Events taking place around the world.

    • Ladiesbingo is a bingo challenge for creative works about the relationships between women. It runs for seven months (from September until March). Players create works to fill squares in a bingo card and gain points for the patterns they make. When the challenge ends in March winners are announced based on the number of points amassed.
    • ConClave is an annual convention "dedicated to education and literacy through the advancement of Science Fiction." The guest of honor is Jody Lynn Nye, author of over 40 books including the recent Fortunes of the Imperium and Wishing On a Star. Programming tracks include science, music, literature, and gaming, with a special new track this year called "Mystery and Mayhem." Room parties are encouraged, and all registered hosts will receive a Party Starter Kit. The con is October 9-11 in Dearborn, Michigan, United States.
    • Octocon, the National Irish Science Fiction Convention, is a "weekend celebration of the weird and wonderful, attracting artists, writers, film-makers and fans from across the human sphere of influence." This year's guests of honor are authors Maura McHugh and Emma Newman. It is October 9-12 in Dublin, Ireland.
    • GeekGirlCon gives female geeks and their supporters the opportunity to build a community, share facts and fandom, and learn how they can help promote the role of women and other underrepresented groups in geek culture. It's October 10-11, Seattle, Washington, United States.
    • You've probably seen the fake It's Back to the Future Day posts online for years, but--guess what--October 21, 2015, is the real thing. It's finally the actual day Marty McFly visited in the second movie of the time-travel trilogy.
    • Author and artist signups close October 27 for the Clint Barton Big Bang. Stories must be at least 20,000 words long and focus on the Marvel character. Betas also are needed!
    • TusCon 42 is, unsurprisingly, hosted in Tucson and describes itself as "the best little sci-fi, fantasy, and horror convention in Arizona." Guests of honor are author Seanan Mcguire (October Daye, InCryptid) and fantasy artist Bridget E. Wilde. TusCon will include a burlesque show in addition to a cosplay contest and pet parade. TusCon is October 30-November 1.

    Calls for Papers this month come from:

    • Call for Papers: Moomin Collection. The Moomins, created by Tove Jansson, have delighted and enlightened adults and children for generations and have been translated into several languages. In all, nine books were published, together with five picture books and a comic strip, between 1945 and 1993. At the centennial anniversary of their creator’s birth, a new film has been released, and more of Jansson’s works are now being translated from Swedish into various other languages. This has created a second "Moomin boom." Contributions of 5,000 words are being sought, with abstracts of up to 500 words due by October 30.
    • Call For Papers: Virtual/Physical Fan Spaces for Special Edition of the Journal of Fandom Studies. Fan spaces are increasingly important culturally and financially. Media creators and producers have come to acknowledge the significance of their fans and the need to communicate with them, particularly through social media. Fans, however, also insist upon their own self-contained spaces where they can share their opinions and observations, as well as their transformative works, metatexual analyses, and cosplay. Papers on virtual and physical fan spaces are being sought for a proposed special edition of the Journal of Fandom Studies. Abstracts are due November 1.
    • Call for Papers: Stardom and Fandom, Southwest Popular Culture and American Culture Association Conference. Submit proposals for papers or multipaper panels on Stardom and Fandom by November 1 for the 37th Annual Southwest Popular Culture and American Culture Association Conference. The conference is scheduled for February 10-13, 2016, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. Monetary awards will be granted for the best graduate papers.

    Help out a researcher!

    Lisa Gaumond ia a doctoral student in Media Psychology at Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California. She is studying "television viewing and self-discrepancy," and is asking for participants to take a survey describing themselves and their television viewing habits. Participation is anonymous, and survey participants will not receive additional contact. The entire survey should take about 19 minutes to complete. Find the survey online. Participants may submit an email to receive a copy of the dissertation when it is complete. If you have questions about the survey, contact Gaumond at lisaga-at-mit-dot-edu or the Institutional Review Board at 805-898-4034 or IRB-at-fielding-dot-IRB.

    If you have requests for research participation, please view our policy for inclusion at our website.

    The OTW encourages anyone to submit an event that's not already listed, and to check out the calendar throughout the year!

  • Transformative Works and Cultures Releases Issue No. 20

    By Sarah Remy on mardi, 15 September 2015 - 4:15pm
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    20th Issue celebration banner with separate icons for letters, vids, conventions, zines, usenet, blogs, and moblie. Red heading Twentieth Issue Celebration

    Transformative Works and Cultures has released their 20th issue. This milestone issue showcases the interdisciplinary nature of the field of fan studies and, as editors Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson write: "offers us a moment to reflect on where we've come and where we want to go."

    The first collaboration between Busse and Hellekson, "which was conceived in early 2004 and began soliciting contributions in September 2004, moved quickly: essays were submitted and peer reviewed, and we received a publishing contract with an estimated print date of September 2005. Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet would not be published for another few months, but we had accomplished what we had set out to do: give voice to the many scholars we had met at conferences and online; create a volume that would start with the premise that academics were often fans and fans often academics and that that was okay; and permit conversations that did not always begin with introductory definitions but instead would assume a knowledgeable audience, thus raising the level of discourse."

    Ten years later, the Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) continues to do just that.

    Fandoms addressed in the 20th issue include bronies (Anne Gilbert); Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (Andrew Ryan Rico); the 2010 film The Social Network (Melanie Piper); and Lady Gaga (Lise Dilling-Hansen).

    Essays also discuss the genre of mpreg (Mary Ingram-Waters); the use of African American cultural studies in fan studies (Rebecca Wanzo); and pedagogy (Misty Krueger). Two essays discuss comic books, one with a focus on materiality (J. Richard Stevens and Christopher E. Bell) and the other with a focus on Japanese fan comics (Kathryn Hemmann). Materiality is also addressed in an essay about one-sixth-scale action figures (Victoria Godwin).

    Symposium essays include personal essays about being of fan of singer Patti Smith (Maud Lavin) and about creative winter fashions made in in a Nunavik village in Quebec (Jasmin Aurora Stoffer). Another essay discusses fan recuts of films or film series (Joshua Wille).

    The issue concludes with three reviews of recent books in the field of fan studies.

    The next issue of TWC, No. 21, will appear in March 2016 as a special issue guest edited by Ika Willis on the Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work.

    The following issues are open for submissions (close date March 15, 2016): open, unthemed issue; Sherlock Holmes Fandom, Sherlockiana, and the Great Game; and Queer Female Fandom. The calls for papers for the themed issues are available on TWC's website.

  • OTW Fannews: OTW Sightings

    By Janita Burgess on mardi, 8 September 2015 - 4:31pm
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    OTW Fannews banner by Ania Kopertowska with a picture of a viewfinder overlooking a river with the words OTW Sightings

    • Members of OTW's Legal Committee have proposed panels for next year's South By Southwest (SXSW) conference on fair use and fandom. They are asking for fans to support the inclusion of these panels by either logging in to the SXSW official website and upvoting a session on its info page, or by commenting via Disqus on that session’s info page. The panels are Copyright & Creators: 2026 and FYeahCopyright and Fanworks.
    • MediaPost discussed when and how creators should try to target fans in order to help promote a project. "The first thing entertainment marketers should do when looking to harness the power of fandoms is to understand what makes them tick...Go beyond the obvious appeal of a TV show – the characters, plot lines and themes – and dig into the details and nuances such as vernacular, recurring motifs and magical moments that empower fans and make them feel like part of something bigger."
    • Gizmodo provided a lengthy look at AO3 features as part of offering a guide to the "best fanfiction" available. One thing not mentioned were bookmark searches and the rec feature. However the post did mention how "[u]sers on Tumblr, Livejournal and other networks will often curate 'recs' pages of what they consider the best stories. So if the sorting options on AO3 aren’t enough, do a web search for a pairing or fandom and related recommendations, like 'harry potter fic recs.' Individual, dedicated archives in the older style still exist as well."

    What OTW sightings have you seen around the web? If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages!

    Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Events Calendar for September 2015

    By Jennifer Rose Hale on mardi, 1 September 2015 - 3:39pm
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    Banner by caitie of curtains opening to show a stage with the words OTW Events Calendar

    Welcome to our Events Calendar roundup for the month of September! The Events Calendar can be found on the OTW website and is open to submissions by anyone with news of an event. These can be viewed by event-type, such as Academic Conferences, Fan Events and Fests, Legal Events, OTW Events, or Technology Events taking place around the world.

    • If you're a Star Wars collector, mark your calendars. If you're Star Wars weary, you may want to avoid toy retailers on September 4, which Disney, Lucasfilm, and other Star Wars merchandisers are calling Force Friday, the day Star Wars: The Force Awakens tie-in materials officially go on sale.
    • FandomVerse Expo is a three-day multi-fandom convention. Its goal is to enlighten, inform, and entertain attendees while celebrating all areas of fandom: anime, comics, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, gaming, costuming, and more. It's September 4-6 in Lancaster, California, United States.
    • Gleekon 2015 is the first unofficial Glee convention hosted in Italy. The three-day event, September 4-6 in Milan, includes meet-and-greets with the guests, Q&A panels, individual and group photo opportunities, and autograph sessions. Dot Marie Jones is a special guest.
    • It's the first annual Scifi Wales convention, being held in the seaside town of Llandudno, Wales, United Kingdom, on September 5. Special guests include Caitlin Blackwood (Doctor Who), Virginia Hey (Farscape), Brian Wheeler (Star Wars and Harry Potter), and John Challis (Doctor Who). Attendees can also learn to make 3D paper toys with "Jedi Paper Master" Ryan Hall.

    • The goal of Alamo City Comic Con is "to celebrate the artists who provide entertainment to the public via comics, movies, TV, gaming, and cosplay." This year's special guests include John Noble, Edward James Olmos, Ron Perlman, and Manu Bennett. Photo ops will be available, and the event, September 11-13 in San Antonio, Texas, United States, will include a costume contest.
    • Shocka-Con 4, a horror/scifi convention, will feature Rose Siggins and Drew Rin Varick from American Horror Story; Bai Ling (The Crow, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow); and Jeryl Prescott from The Walking Dead. The event is September 18-20 in Charleston, West Virginia, United States.
    • Hobbit Day! September 22 is the shared birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, and it was officially declared a holiday by the American Tolkien Society in 1978.

    • Submit drafts for the Captain America/Iron Man Big Bang by September 23. Stories should focus on the relationship between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark (in any setting or continuity you can think of). Artist claims will be based on fic summaries, which will be made available beginning September 24. Minimum final word count for stories is 25,000, and final fics are due November 1. Authors are required to post their own works to an Archive of Our Own collection.
    • FACTS (Fantasy Anime Comics Toys Space), September 26-27 in Ghent, Belgium, is a forum for all fans of the “fantastic genre." Guests include Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) and Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who, The Hobbit) and a wide variety of international and local artists. Highlights include a game zone and a fan village.
    • The annual conference of the Midwest Popular Culture Association and Midwest American Culture Association, MPCA in Cincinnati will feature presentations on topics including fandom studies, gender studies, writing and rhetoric in popular culture, and more. It's October 1-4 in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States.

    Calls for Papers this month come from:

    • Going Viral: The Changing Faces of (Inter)Media Culture. As the practice of sharing texts, images, and videos online provokes and multiplies reactions on a global scale, it can be defined as contagious—enabling any possible content to “go viral.” The 2015 fall issue of Frames will explore the palpable effects of this "contagiousness" on media culture. Topics may include but are not limited to the influence of New Media on low budget / no budget filmmaking and studio advertising strategies; piracy and copyright issues; and online film reception and its influence on fan culture. In addition to articles, video submissions are welcome. All submissions should be sent by September 14.
    • Fanfiction in Medieval Studies, a Panel at the International Congress on Medieval Studies. Over the past three decades, there has been increasing interest in both Fan Studies and Medieval Studies in the relationship between medieval literary culture and fanfiction (that is, popular, "unofficial," fan-generated fiction writing that participates in a pre-existing fictional "universe" and uses its characters). This session invites papers that reflect on points of analogy between fanfiction and medieval literatures. Abstracts of 300 words or less and a Participation Information Form are due September 15.
    • An Edited Collection on the Work of Joni Mitchell. Joni Mitchell is widely recognised as an innovative, influential, much-loved, and much-imitated artist. From her debut album Song to a Seagull to her most recent Shine, Mitchell’s music--her tunings, her lyrics, her scope--has drawn critical and popular acclaim. And yet, scholarly attention to her work has been relatively limited. This edited collection will attend to Mitchell as a figure worthy of sustained critical thought and appreciation, with a major publisher having already expressed interest. Please send 350- to 500-word chapter proposals by September 30.
    • Fan Culture and Theory, Popular Culture Association National Conference. The Popular Culture Association National Conference takes place March 21-25 in Seattle, Washington. Proposals for both panels and individual papers are now being accepted for all aspects of Fan Culture and Theory, including, but not limited to, the following areas: Fan Fiction; Fan/Creator interactions; Race, Gender and Sexuality in Fandom; Music Fandom; and Reality Television Fandom. Submit abstracts of 100-250 words with relevant audio/visual requests online by October 1. Graduate students are encouraged to submit proposals.

    Help out a researcher!

    This month we have received a request for research participation from Silja Kukka at University of Oulu, Finland. As part of her research for her PhD, she is studying kink meme communities under the oversight of Dr. Kuisma Korhonen.

    The purpose of this research is to study kink meme communities and their place in the larger context of pornography and contemporary porn studies, and to study the role that slash fiction plays in the development of humans' sexual identity.

    Note that survey participants must be at least 18 years of age. You can find the survey online.

    Contact information is kinkmeme [dot] survey [at] gmail [dot] com and kuisma [dot] korhonen [at] oulu [dot] fi.

    If you have requests for research participation, please view our policy for inclusion at our website.

    The OTW encourages anyone to submit an event that's not already listed, and to check out the calendar throughout the year!

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom Tourism

    By Claudia Rebaza on dimanche, 2 August 2015 - 3:01pm
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    Banner by Alice of a road sign reading OTW Fannews: Fandom Tourism and a dotted path from a compass to an X

    • Media outlets have been engaged in 'fandom tourism' articles for some time. Although there are fewer articles these days demonstrating surprise that fandom or fanworks exist, there are still a number of fandom profiles that either serve to stoke fandom nostalgia by pointing out activity surrounding a particular canon, or by demonstrating surprise that works exist in a specific fandom. Some recent examples were run in Jezebel, Flavorwire, and The New York Times.
    • While the spate of fandom tourism articles may have been inspired by San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), other articles involved SDCC directly. In a post at Belief Net, Nell Minow discussed her participation in the San Diego Comic Con panel Fandom: The Next Generation. "We all dream of sharing our passions with our children. But it is important to be careful about it. Everyone on the panel had a story about sharing the wrong movie — or the right movie too soon — with a child who got upset, and feeling that we had 'flunked parenting.' Young children will say what they think you want to hear and if it seems too important to you, they will tell you they like something when they really do not."
    • NPR talked with screenwriter Nicole Perlman, who discussed her excitement at seeing fans of her next project. "Perlman says she got very excited the first time she saw someone dressed up as her new project, Captain Marvel. 'She looked fantastic, so I completely accosted her and I kind of whispered it shyly, 'I'm writing the movie, take a picture with me please!'"
    • Polygon contrasted the approaches of Marvel and Warner Bros when fans promoted their new projects. "When trailers leaked from Comic Con, because studios show things to huge halls of people who are all carrying recording equipment and still think they can control the footage, the response from Warner Bros. was, to put it mildly, messed up." Writer Ben Kuchera concluded, "The reaction to the Suicide Squad footage was mostly positive; this was a great thing for Warner Bros. until they had to stomp in and make sure we knew they didn't approve of the way we were excited about their product and everyone needs to cut it out at once or they'll turn this movie right around and drive home."

    What articles could your write about your fandoms? Don't wait! Post them to Fanlore. Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Events Calendar for August 2015

    By Janita Burgess on samedi, 1 August 2015 - 4:37pm
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    Banner by caitie of curtains opening to show a stage with the words OTW Events Calendar

    Welcome to our Events Calendar roundup for the month of August! The Events Calendar can be found on the OTW website and is open to submissions by anyone with news of an event. These can be viewed by event-type, such as Academic Conferences, Fan Events and Fests, Legal Events, OTW Events, or Technology Events taking place around the world.

    • Guests for this year's Texas Comicon include David Prowse and Paul Blake (Star Wars); Robert Axelrod, Barbara Goodson, and Catherine Sutherland (Power Rangers); and John Wesley Shipp (The Flash). Celebrity Q&As, a Halo Tournament, and a costume contest are among the highlights of the event, August 7-9 in San Antonio, Texas, United States.
    • When Words Collide: A Festival for Readers and Writers is an event for readers, writers, artists, and publishers of commercial and literary fiction, including genre, young adult, children's books, and poetry. Guests of honor include Diana Gabaldon (the Outlander series), Faith Hunter (the Skinwalker series), and literary agent Sally Harding. The festival also includes optional pre-festival workshops on manuscript development, plot structure, and more. It's August 14-15 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
    • "Sasquan" is the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention, also known as Worldcon, the annual gathering of science fiction and fantasy fans. Worldcons are the site of the Hugo Awards. The event is August 19-23 in Spokane, Washington, United States.
    • Auto Assembly 2015 is "Europe's largest Transformers convention" and takes place each year in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom. This year's guests include Sumalee Montano and James Horan (Arcee and Wheeljack from Transformers: Prime) and writer James Roberts (More Than Meets the Eye). The event, August 21-23, includes an artists' alley and goodie bags for attendees.
    • Dragon*Con is one of the largest multimedia fan conventions and is held annually on Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. This year's Dragon*Con is September 4-7 and features guests John Barrowman (Torchwood), David Ramsey (Arrow), author Mercedes Lackey, Candice Patton (The Flash), Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow), and Edward James Olmos.

    Calls for Papers this month come from:

    • The Journal of Fandom Studies Special Issue on Ethics in Fan Studies. This special issue aims to examine these and related questions: What should ethics in fan studies look like? Do we need a standard ethical framework? How should fan studies scholars approach ethical issues in their work? What does the future of the field hold? Submit proposals for papers (250-400 words) by August 15.
    • Call for Chapter Proposals: Doctor Who and History. Contributions are being accepted for an edited volume that focuses on Doctor Who and History: A Cultural Perspective. While there have been many publications recently celebrating the show’s longevity, or those reflecting on the programme as a product of the BBC as British institution, this volume focuses specifically on the topic of history. Proposals/abstracts should be 300-350 words in length and submitted by September 1. Accepted proposals will be developed into 5,000- to 8,000-word essays (including notes and references).
    • Call for Participants: Shame, Gender, and Cultural Capital: The Problems of Reading and Writing Fan Fiction. This is a call for participants for a panel at PCA/ACA 2016. There are very specific histories and stigmas associated with women’s writing and reading. Whether it’s a question of popular reading or canon formation, the responses are still the same: “That’s not good for you!” “That’s trashy!" “Why can’t you read Serious Literature?” Instead, the big questions to consider could be: “Why is reading and writing fic a problem for some people?” and “Where does reading fit into participatory culture?” This roundtable would like to discuss how the fan models of women’s writing and its reception is complicated both through genre and fan history. A statement of interest is due September 1.

    The OTW encourages anyone to submit an event that's not already listed, and to check out the calendar throughout the year!

  • OTW Fannews: Fangirls in the Wild

    By Claudia Rebaza on mardi, 28 July 2015 - 4:00pm
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    Banner by Alice of the top of a face peering out from behind some leaves

    • San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) season means it's time for the media to once again declare that fangirls exist. The New York Times thought this was the year for fangirls. "A bunch of oddballs — nerds and fanboys, toy collectors and cosplayers, gamers and fantasists — invaded the mainstream and planted themselves at the vital center of the entertainment industry...Lately, though, something else has been happening, too — a shift in the ecosystem of fandom symbolized not only by Sadness but also by another new addition to the Comic-Con costume repertory: Imperator Furiosa, the crew-cut, one-armed avenger played by Charlize Theron in 'Mad Max: Fury Road.' Furiosa’s presence amid the Disney princesses and Manga pixies is an especially potent sign of the feminism that is a big part of this event."
    • A more thoughtful article at Refinery29 points out that SDCC is hardly a bastion of feminism yet. "What we’re calling fangirls here covers an admittedly wide and amorphous group of women. They’re cosplayers, comic book collectors, sci-fi nerds, steampunk enthusiasts, booth babes, Lolitas, and more....And they are vocal: When the proportion of female writers and artists for DC Comics plunged from 12 percent to 1 percent in 2011, female fans started a petition for DC to hire more women. DC Comics responded by promising to try. Female fans from a group called the Carol Corps. were also instrumental last year in pushing Marvel to announce plans for a movie about Captain Marvel, a super-powered woman. In other words, fangirls are engaged and numerous, making up a significant portion of the audience that shells out hard-earned dollars to support their pop culture passions. And yet, despite that, this group remains the third estate of the comics / fantasy world."
    • The Chicago Tribune focused more on numbers. "'But when you start to break it down according to how fans identify themselves, we find that no individual fandom is that even,' continues Salkowitz, who will discuss his findings Sunday afternoon at Comic-Con. 'Comics, videogaming, hobby gaming and toy collecting are majority male, usually in the 55- to 60-percent range. Manga/anime, science fiction/fantasy and media fandom are 60- to 65-percent female. Because today's big conventions appeal to fans of everything, audiences coming to shows are pretty much gender-balanced. However, it's still the case that, say, 'comics' fandom tends more toward older guys, whereas manga appeals more to younger women.'"
    • As Neon Tommy pointed out, having female creators representing female fans in the media is a needed step forward. "As for today’s devoted fangirls — who have often been excluded from the full participatory side of media — Jarett says the 'Fan Girl' film's message is one of female empowerment. 'Telulah is a filmmaker,' he says. 'And being a fan of something can also be someone’s art — it’s a form of creative expression.'"

    How many times have you been discovered within fandom? Write about your history in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Guest Post: Donna Davies

    By Janita Burgess on lundi, 27 July 2015 - 4:27pm
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    Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard

    From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

    Today's post is an interview with Donna Davies, the writer, director and producer behind the documentary Fanarchy. The documentary explores how new affordable technology is allowing fans to threaten the Hollywood system by producing the films they want to see in quantities Hollywood can't keep up with. It premiered July 9 on Epix Drive-in.

    What inspired you to make this documentary?

    I made a documentary about the Hollywood film industry that featured some pretty high profile directors and discovered that several had made their own homemade tributes to the stories and movies they loved when they were kids. I was intrigued by the fact that these individuals were all inspired by the TV shows, books and movies they loved as children and were really still fans at heart. I wanted to look deeper into the idea of fandom as artistic inspiration.

    What is your personal history with fandom?

    I'm a fan of the old Hammer horror films, like The Curse of the Werewolf, Horror of Dracula, etc. I'm also a huge fan of Dylan Thomas. Not really a fan of superhero movies, although I did love the Super Chicken and Underdog cartoon superheroes.

    What was the biggest revelation when you were making Fanarchy?

    I was amazed by how powerful fans have become. As a result on fans and their desire to be part of the world they love, the entertainment industry has completely changed. It's become less passive than in has been in the past. It's become more of a participatory sport.

    What has the reaction to Fanarchy been, and what surprised you about that?

    I had imagined the San Diego Comic-Con crowd would relate to the film, but I didn't expect to have so much interest from the those who aren't involved in the fan community. The idea of ownership of story and copyright is clearly more relevant now then ever before in history.

    How do the philosophies of the OTW (such as that fanworks are fair use, female spaces and representations should be encouraged) fit with what you found?

    Early on in the process of making the film, I interviewed [OTW Legal Staffer] Rebecca Tushnet. Rebecca provided insight into the legal implications from the fan's perspective. I also interviewed media expert Jeff Ulin, a lawyer who had worked for Disney and Lucasfilm, where he managed worldwide distribution including the franchise sales for Star Wars. These two experts gave me insight into of the vast divide that often exists between the fans and the copyright holders.

    I was worried at the start of making the film, because, although I had dealt with fair use in previous docs, I had never pushed things this far before. Although the fan films featured in the doc have been available on the Internet, until now they haven't been broadcast on traditional television. Here's hoping I don't end up in jail.

    In all seriousness, I think we're making huge progress in the area of fair use in documentary film. I can do things today that were not possible just 10 years ago.

    As for female spaces, while fan culture is absolutely rooted in female culture, I think that has primarily been the "story" side. The "film" production side has traditionally tended to bias towards males. However with accessible distribution methods and affordable technology that is changing.

    My film is really looking primarily at fan films and TV shows, not literature or vidding. I'm totally fascinated by that side though, so maybe that's my next film!

    The main character of Fanarchy is Maya Glick, a black woman from Texas who, through the making of my doc ends up achieving her goal of making her own fan-film tribute to [Marvel character] Storm. I also feature several other female characters, including Brea Grant who, after much success acting in Hollywood films and TV shows like Friday Night Lights, Heroes, and Dexter, went on to write her own comic book, then engaged with her fans to eventually make her own feature film.

    There's also Stephanie Thorpe, who, along with her producing partner Paula Rhodes, made a loving fan tribute to their favourite childhood comic book series, Elfquest, and then used that fan film to convince the copyright holders to give them the rights to make the Elfquest TV series.

    In addition to Rebecca Tushnet, the film features other female experts such as film critic Maitland McDonagh and journalist Heidi Honeycutt.

    What are your thoughts on the monetization of fanworks?

    This is a tricky area to navigate. Some fans just want to play with the stories and characters they love. I believe that these fans should be able to do so freely. And I think that this has become more and more acceptable.

    Copyright holders are beginning to understand that these fans are not harming their franchises. It's very difficult to prove that these homages take away money from the original works. However fans still have to be careful. They have to walk a very fine line between freedom to express their fandom and directly profiting monetarily from that fandom. The fans who want to use their fan works to build a fan base can easily do so. Doing a fan film about Batman enables the filmmaker of that fan film to reach out to other fans, and gain an audience for an original film that they can legally profit from.

    Things are evolving very quickly. Some fan films are becoming so professional it is impossible to tell them from the original. Fan filmmakers who are doing these super pro films are hoping that they can eventually make a deal with original copyright holders to share in any profits that could be made from the fan works.

    They are always going to be fans who just want to do this for themselves as a labour of love on the one hand and on the other hand those who want to use the fan work as a calling card to break into a career.

    Finally, how can fans who've missed the previous airings watch Fanarchy?

    The film will be broadcast on Epix Drive-in throughout the summer. It will be available on Netflix in October.

    We're also doing the film festival circuit now and broadcasting in Canada in the fall.

  • OTW Legal Staffers Participate in SDCC "Fandom is My Fandom" Panel

    By Janita Burgess on vendredi, 24 July 2015 - 5:18pm
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    SDCC Fandom is My Fandom panelists.

    At this year's San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), OTW Legal Chair Betsy Rosenblatt participated in the Fandom is My Fandom panel, moderated by Legal's Heidi Tandy.

    Betsy and Heidi were joined by Amanda Brennan (Community and Content Tumblarian), Flourish Klink (Chaotic Good, Inc., Transmedia Producer for East Los High), Meredith Levine (Fanthropologist, ZEFR), Aron Levitz (Head of Business Development, WattPad), Elizabeth Minkel (Writer, New Statesman/The Millions), and Missyjack (aka Jules) (Founder, Supernatural Wiki).

    A video of the panel is now available for public viewing.

    The panel discussed how fandom has changed now that fanworks are in the spotlight on social media and mainstream news and are being acknowledged by the companies that create and distribute source material. The panelists reflected on how advances in technology and improved understanding in copyright law, particularly in the area of fair use, have increased fandom's public reach and placed fanworks into the public consciousness.

    Panelists noted that fandom is even inspiring developments in law: in 2013, Holmesian scholar Leslie Klinger and author Laurie R. King received a "cease and desist" letter from the Conan Doyle Estate, ahead of the publication of their second anthology of stories inspired by the Holmes canon. Klinger successfully sued the Estate, claiming the copyright had expired on all of the story elements included in the anthology. Because of Klinger, all but the last ten Holmes stories are now officially part of the public domain, allowing fanfiction authors to publish and even sell works based on the majority of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories and novels.

    Many fanwork creators prefer to stay non-commercial, though, whether to be better able connect directly with their audience; to use fanworks as a "training ground" for skills that can be used professionally; to avoid legal risks; or simply because they prefer to participate in a gift and generosity based economy and community.

    The panel pointed out that the companies behind commercial works are increasingly interested in fandom and fanworks, sometimes even offering fanwork contests. Because of this, many fanwork creators no longer feel the need to hide their work from "the powers that be" and can enjoy participating in these contests, provided that they are able choose what and when to share. Companies may use these contests both as a way to reward fans for their enthusiasm and as an additional source of metrics to gauge consumer engagement. The panel suggested that, while fans often appreciate nods to fanwork in their favourite source material (e.g. Supernatural meta episodes, characters referring to tumblr, etc.), they also want space to engage in fandoms without needing acknowledgement or approval from creators of source material.

    The increased visibility of fanwork has allowed mainstream creators to acknowledge their fannish pasts. As fanwork becomes better understood by people outside of the fandom community, we hope that stigma will decrease, and that the myriad forms of fannish engagement and creation will be met with the appreciation and respect they have always deserved.

  • OTW Fannews: Altering Reality

    By Janita Burgess on dimanche, 19 July 2015 - 5:32pm
    Message type:

    OTWFannews Banner Altering Reality

    • Geek and Sundry suggested that Gaming Led Us All to Genderbending. "There’s a great deal of imagination and creativity behind genderbending in fandom, fan art, and cosplay, and it can help us identify more strongly with those characters we love. But where does it really come from? Where did we even get the idea to imagine our favorite fandoms with this random character change? While the interest in genderbending can come from a lot of different places, I think gaming had a huge part of making it more widely understood."
    • Eventbrite's latest fandom study examined con attendance and cosplay. "Con-goers are split almost half and half by gender, with males representing 48.7% of fans, and women making up 48.9%. Taking a closer look at these nearly-equal slices of the population pie, we see that single fans are divided by gender almost evenly as well: 50% of singles are male, and 47% are female. But while male singles head to cons alone (29%), the single ladies travel in groups (18%), and go for the cosplay."
    • Malaysian Digest reported that 1 of every 6 K-pop fans is male, but they're often quiet about it. "'I was showing to a friend a music video of Super Junior’s ‘Sorry Sorry’. I was expecting comments like 'wow cool dance moves' or 'it’s catchy', but NO, instead he said, 'why do you listen to this. It’s not like you understand a single thing that they say. Plus they look kinda gay. Are you gay?'...What I don’t understand is why does liking another music genre has got to do with sexual orientation?"
    • Attack of the Fanboy discussed the battling petitions related to the development of Metroid Prime: Federation Force and linked to a video highlighting the fan rage being expressed. "In just under four minutes, Mega64 skewers the mentality behind the Federation Force petition by taking it to an extreme that incorporates elements of Anonymous threat videos with a terrorist-lite militia. It looks like a hard sell on paper, but the over the top nature of every passing second works well on video."


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